Bubba Pollard’s No. 26 continues to be the standard for which all Deep South Super Late Model teams strive towards.
The 33-year-old won yet again in the Southern Super Series — leading the final 13 laps of the Summer Sizzler 75 main event on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
The triumph was the 72nd Super Late Model victory of his storied career, 27th in 77 Southern Super Series appearances and 22 at Five Flags Speedway in 50 Blizzard Series starts.
Pollard almost didn’t leave himself enough time to close out on this one, however.
Due to unique format of this once a year event, Pollard started sixth in the feature, due to finishing second to Hunter Robbins in the 10-lap heat earlier the evening.
Pollard quickly worked his way to fourth, picking off Stephen Nasse and Kyle Plott to run second to Kaden Honeycutt with 40 laps to go, but needing to make up over two seconds.
Honeycutt was making his first appearance outside of his family car, driving the No. 2 typically piloted by Donnie Wilson, and ran a really efficient race following an admittedly lucky draw to open the night. Honeycutt led the first 62 laps from the pole, but Pollard eventually proved to be too much once they both reached lapped traffic.
“It got to be 30 to go, and I was like ‘Hell, I need to go,'” Pollard said in Victory Lane. “75 lap race and I wasn’t sure how far he’d get out front. When I was behind (Kyle) Plott, I could see him get away from us a little bit, and I knew I needed to step it up a little bit.
“So, I set up Plott to get a run and beat him off 2. From there, it was just about hitting your marks and not overdriving. When you overdrive, that’s when you mess up.
“Usually, I get through lapped traffic pretty decent, but tonight, I wasn’t. I just couldn’t. I was making up better time with a clean track so I just tried to make as much back as I could when I got the chance.”
As much as Pollard struggled in lap traffic, on a night where the outside lane was especially slick, Honeycutt struggled more and that was the difference. Honeycutt received damage to his right front while working traffic and it changed the balance of his car.
He doesn’t believe that made the entire difference, but perhaps enough for the best of the discipline to close the gap even quicker.
“It just got really tight from the damage, we came up on two lappers, but I’m really happy tonight,” Honeycutt said.
The 17-year-old Texas routinely competes in his family owned car but this was his first time in one of the elite rides and he feels like he made it count.
“I tried not to put too much pressure on myself,” Honeycutt said. “I know they have really good cars, but I didn’t think about any of that. I just viewed it as another race, hopefully, and I hope we get the chance to come back here in September and maybe the Derby.”
Pollard was impressed with the poise from the youngster, too.
“Yeah, he did good,” Pollard said. “I raced with him before in his own car and he does a good job. He got a good draw tonight and did a good job out in front in clean air.”
The feature ran 75 laps straight without a caution.
Pollard won $15,000 on Friday night. The race paid the winner $5000 by itself. Pollard finished inside the top-four of his heat and won the feature, which earned him additional $5000 from Phoenix Construction’s James Finch. Pollard also picked up an additional $5000 with the Double Down in the Next Town Southern Super Series bonus.
Pollard competed in the previous Southern Super Series race, held July 18 at Montgomery Motor Speedway, making him eligible for a $5000 bonus should he win at Pensacola.
The bonuses have also kept Pollard eligible for the Southern Super Series championship. Pollard typically doesn’t points race, preferring to travel to big money races across the country, but the Double Down bonus keeps him coming back.
Pollard unofficially has a full race’s worth of points advantage over Jeremy Pate.
“I just have to say thank you to these promoters for stepping up, and folks like James Finch increasing these purses, during these tough times,” Pollard said. “We want to support people who are supporting short track racing. Tim Bryant, James Finch, they’re supporting short track racing, and we want to come out here and put on a show and win these checks.
“That’s the reason we’re able to put money back into this team and go race at a place like Wisconsin International for the Dixieland race — a place we haven’t been to yet.”
Stephen Nasse finished third, but conceded he just didn’t have anything more for the frontrunners on Friday night.
“We just couldn’t make a lot of headway, especially when the lap cars came into effect,” Nasse said. “I thought we were making ground on them and felt like we had a top two car at least, and we did run down (Honeycutt.)
“A few more laps and I think we could have got him. It was so tough because the outside was slick and the lap cars were giving us the bottom, so we all kind of struggled when we went up there. But all in all, it was a good night. We leave here with a clean car and a podium.”
The next Southern Super Series race is scheduled for next Saturday, August 8, at Watermelon Capital Speedway at Crisp Motorsports Park in Georgia.
The complete results from the Summer Sizzler 75 can be found below.
- Bubba Pollard
- Kaden Honeycutt
- Stephen Nasse
- Jeremy Pate
- Kyle Plott
- Casey Roderick
- Hunter Robbins
- Connor Okrzesik
- John DeAngelis Jr.
- Boris Jurkovic
- Jake Garcia
- Jett Noland
- Daniel Dye
- Kyle McCallum
- Logan Bearden
- Hudson Halder
- Chris Davidson
- Bob Lyon
- Michael House
- Kyle Bryant
- Willie Allen
- Lance Elliott’